Businesses in the Tees Valley have been urged not to miss out on their share of £40m of funding that could dramatically accelerate growth and support jobs for years to come.
About 50 businessmen and women from the Redcar and Cleveland Business Forum turned out at a networking event on Tuesday at which director of Business Investment at Tees Valley Unlimited Neil Kenley spoke of the potential benefits available through the Let’s Grow Programme and the Tees Valley Catalyst Fund.
Run through the regional growth fund, Let’s Grow provides grant support from ï¿½50,000 to ï¿½1m for capital investment or research and development projects that create or safeguard jobs in the region.
The £10m government-backed Catalyst Fund, meanwhile, has been launched by the Tees Valley Unlimited Local Enterprise Partnership, to help companies win contracts they might otherwise not secure.
It is the first project of its kind in the UK and is aimed at helping businesses in the region compete against industry giants for larger projects, allowing them to tap into new markets and take advantage of new opportunities.
The rationale is that many established businesses have the capacity and technical know-how, but cannot give the financial guarantees required to clear the first hurdle.
The fund, which it is hoped will help unlock almost ï¿½700m of additional contracts while supporting about 1,440 jobs over the next 10 years, will provide security for performance bond guarantees.
Kenley told the meeting, organised by the Redcar Enterprise Team: “This fund, launched just last month, will allow private sector companies in Tees Valley to bid for significant contracts that will enable them to grow and create jobs.
“Tees Valley Unlimited, along with organisations like the Redcar and Cleveland Enterprise Team, is firmly committed to helping local firms achieve business growth and the Catalyst Fund is just one example of how that is happening.”
Redcar and Cleveland Business Forum member, Michael Goodchild, of expanding confectionery company Fudge Fancies, said: “I welcome any help available, especially if it means businesses like mine can take the next step. As a small business that’s only been in existence for three years, we’ve found that often the larger contracts feel out of reach because of the financial hurdles.
“Any funding help means we are in a better position to overcome those challenges and secure the contracts that will see us expand and take on more staff.”
For more information on the Redcar Enterprise Team see www.theenterpriseteam.co.uk or call 01642 495707.